LAOX/there are many south east asian staff in the tax free shop
LAOX is a big duty-free chain store, with 14 branches all over Japan. It sells all kinds of stuff from home appliances and games to cosmetics. It is one of the “must go” place tourists should not miss. The store was originally electrical appliance shop for Japanese, but along with the increase of tourists, it has changed into a duty free shop with foreign tourists as its main target.
The Akihabara branch covers the whole 7- floor building. I`ll introduce you the floors where tourists usually visit, which are as follow: digital cameras（1F）, home appliances (2F), folk arts(4F), watches(5F), and cosmetics(6F). Regarding popular products, they vary by nationality. While rice cookers, watches and digital cameras are pretty popular for Chinese and Vietnamese, folk art products are the main interest of Europeans and Indonesians. On the other hand, chocolate products are popular for Filipinos.
LAOX has been making efforts in providing services for foreign tourists; hence, they have many foreign staffs to support foreign customers who don`t speak Japanese. There are over 23 language support services available at the store (e.g. English, Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese, Malay, French, Spanish and Russian).
60-70% of the tourists who visit the store are Chinese while 10% of them are Vietnamese. The remaining percentage is occupied by Thais, Filipinos, Indonesian, Americans and French. For Chinese and Thais, they usually come by bus in a large tour groups.
6F sells products for women such as cosmetics, stockings and drugs. Once you exit the elevator on the 6th floor, you will see the drug store in front of you. On the back corner of the floor is the cosmetics corner.
This shampoo brand is very popular in Vietnam. You can find them on the shelf at the innermost corner of the cosmetics zone.
You can also find stockings here. It seems that Japanese stockings are clearer, more durable and less likely to cause static electricity when compared to products made by foreign countries. As the stockings do not take much space and they are very popular, some tourists buy 20-30 pieces of stockings at once. At the cosmetics corner, you usually find many tourists holding shopping lists for buying souvenirs.
Watches, bags (5F)
You can buy either Omega and Rolex watches or Japanese brand watches such as Seiko, Citizen and Casio here. For male tourists, Seiko`s Astoron is very popular. The watch in the picture above is limited edition watch; only 600 watches are sold in and only in Japan.
For ladies, CITIZEN is popular. The watch is made of titanium so it is pretty light. It is well-designed to match the women`s preferences.
Tourists who come as a family usually buy CASIO or G-SHOCK watches. They are durable and are very popular with children. On top of that, there is a variety of designs both for boys and girls.
Near to the general watches corner, there is a selling corner for luxurious watches.
When you exit the elevator and turn right, you will see the Bags corner. The products in the glass cases such as Hermes products are very popular but difficult to find in China. Since it is a handmade product, you would probably have to make a reservations and wait for many years before you can buy it.
On the 4th floor, you will get to see different kinds of Japanese folk art products such as Japanese dolls and kimonos. You can get a direct experience of Japanese culture here even if you don`t buy anything. Since they are folk art products, most products cannot really be used in real life; however, you might want to buy some keyholders for souvenirs though!
Yukata is a traditional Japanese costume, which is usually worn during general festivals or fireworks festivals.
There is also a large variety of Japanese dolls and Japanese blades (Katana). You might want to buy some for your room decorations.
This kettle is called “Nambu Ironware”, originally from the northern part of Japan, and is used for making teas.
From the staff`s explanation, it seems that there are only few shops in Japan that sell Numbu Ironware so you might not be able to find it in places other than LAOX.
Kitchen goods, home appliances(2F)
A made-in-Japan rice cooker is very popular with foreign tourists. The rice cooker that costs around 40thousand yen is popular (as seen in the picture below); however there are also many cheap rice cookers that cost only around 20thousands.
This is the cheap rice cookers, costing about 20 thousands yen. You can choose to buy the one that fits your budget.
At the home appliances corner, you can also find a large variety of nail clippers. Japanese nail clippers have a reputation of giving a fine cut so many foreigners, especially the Vietnamese usually buy them. Some people buy over 50 nail clippers at once.
1F is the selling corner for digital cameras. It seems that the preference of the brands are different depending on their nationality. For example, Vietnamese does not prefer Canon`s digital cameras. On the other hand, Chinese prefers Canon and Sony.
When you enter the shop and turn left, you will find an information center. Beside the information center, there is an automated currency exchange machine, where you can exchange from USD, CNY, THG, TWD, EUR, KRW, AUD, and HKD.
■Access 1-2-9, Sotokanda, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo,